Gateways Beyond International is a messianic missional community committed to sharing a life of daily worship and prayer, discipleship training and world outreach. Our foremost desire is to help hasten the soon return of the Lord.
We are on a journey! Seven years ago the Lord brought our family to the island of Cyprus with a simple instruction; "Build for Me an altar of worship and intercession". All we knew to do was to set aside the first part of each day and seek His face. I don't think we had any idea of all that God would do in our midst as we followed Him. He has brought many people to join us and many have been sent out from us to extend His kingdom. Looking back, we see that one of the most beautiful things He has been forming in us is a deeper understanding of who we are as a missional community.
What is a missional community?
We are living in an age where we are constantly bombarded by the spirit of the world that assaults from every side saying "be independent", "look out for number one", "trust no one but yourself". True believers are longing to be a part of a community of authentic relationships that are cemented together by common biblical vision and lifestyle. They are dedicated to being a vital part of a group who are wholeheartedly living out Yeshua's teaching and example and in turn want to be just like Him.
Attending a corporate gathering once a week or signing up for a good program can't satiate our thirst for really "living life together" as the body of Messiah. I Peter 2:5 describes us as living stones that are being built into a spiritual temple. Embracing this identity, we acknowledge that God has placed specific people around our lives and that together we bring a pleasing offering to God.
The integrity of our relationships becomes the altar for a sweet smelling savor and living sacrifice to rise up to the Lord. It is then that He answers with His fire and favor. When the Lord's fire and favor continue to fall upon us regularly, His glory dwells with us. Living out true biblical community can be likened to painting a bulls eye for God on our lives. Put another way, we create a landing pad for the Glory of God!
We call ourselves "missional" because though we are gathered together, we face outward, living and breathing God's heart for the redemption of the whole world. Turned off by the notion of evolving into a holy huddle or becoming inwardly focused navel gazers, we desire to be ambassadors to the nations. Understanding that light chases away darkness we want to let our lives shine brightly in a dark world and in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).
Choosing a more organic approach over a corporate business model, outreach and evangelism aren't labels on an organizational flowchart but rather the outflow of our hearts as we seek to obey and imitate our Lord. Here are a few of the characteristics that have developed out of our core values as a missional community:
Gateways Training School - discipleship and mentoring in a community context
As leaders in the Gateways Training School (GTS) we are discovering that the biblical context for true discipleship takes place in biblical community. Together, as we seek to become disciples of Yeshua we are fulfilling the first and greatest commandment to love God and our neighbor (community). And as we are being equipped and equipping others to extend the power and authority of the Kingdom of God all across the earth we are also fulfilling the great commission (missional). During the past seven years, we have had the privilege of personally training, equipping and launching over one hundred students from at least twenty nations. A part of the training is to take the community (staff and students) on the road for outreaches. We have sent GTS ministry teams to Israel, Ethiopia, The Ukraine and most of Europe.
The furnace of worship and intercession
God spoke to the people of Israel in the Torah that an acceptable offering was one without blemish and that it was to be regular and continual before Him. Through King David and King Solomon we learn that an extravagant offering delights God. Following this pattern as a community we set aside the first hours of our day to meet with the Lord in worship and intercession. What is cultivated in our hearts through intimacy with Yeshua comes alive through the deposit of His word in us and through encountering His manifest presence. This furnace of love and adoration is the center of our life together and the place from which all our ministry flows. Our individual lives are like logs that are ignited in the presence of God and when we position ourselves next to one another, collectively, we become a bonfire for the Lord. Holy fire is God's advertising plan for His kingdom! All of Israel went out to see John the Baptist as a burning man in the wilderness. How much more when we burn together in the presence of the Lord will the whole world be drawn to the light, heat and radiance of God's fiery presence?
The multi generational anointing - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
In our community we have a vision to see the generations running hand in hand, spurring each other on, each one honoring the God of our fathers and those that have paved the way before us. We are committed to experiencing the joy of releasing the zeal and passion of youth coupled with the wisdom and experience of our elders. Our hearts desire is for God to be glorified in everything we are and do. Believing that the grace is lifting on the "one man show" model of ministry and that God won't share His glory we desire to live out a "nameless and faceless" model of team ministry.
Biblical calendar - living out God's rhythms of life
There is a cadence that draws our lives together as we joyfully observe the Shabbat and the Feasts of the Lord. We find that these weekly and annual cycles of life create expectation for encountering the Lord and hearing His voice. Separating common from holy on a weekly basis through entering into the Shabbat, we celebrate our faith in God as Creator, Provider and as One who desires to meet with us.
Cyprus - a strategic crossroads
Located in the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey, and north west of Israel, the island of Cyprus has been a strategic crossroads for millennia. Since the first century there's been a strong bond between Jerusalem and Cyprus. The Lord is restoring this unique connection for His purposes in these last days.
As a primary commercial shipping route and as the home of Barnabas it was a natural first stop on the first missionary voyage of Paul. It was here in Cyprus that Saul's name was changed to Paul and he began to step into his destiny "as a chosen vessel to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). We believe that as history is coming full circle and now that the gospel has gone out to the ends of the earth and is coming back to Jerusalem that the Lord is raising up Cyprus to be a place of receiving and launching apostolic teams into the region.
This year Gateways Beyond has sent out teams to the region including Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. In addition we believe that our island is to be a place of revelation, encounter and stepping into God given destiny. As I write, Cyprus is now operating in one of her spiritually redemptive giftings, hospitality. As a place of refuge, Cyprus is currently receiving, sheltering and offering hospitality to tens of thousands of evacuee's from Lebanon as they make their way to their respective countries. Cyprus was the home of Barnabas, the son of encouragement, who was an influential man of God, full of faith and the Holy Spirit in the first century Body of Messiah. We are stirred to walk in the same anointing as Barnabas, which is to inspire courage in the hearts of God's people to fulfill their destinies in the Kingdom.
We are on a journey! I am expectant of so many things. I don't know all that God has for us during the next seven years. I do know that we will explore the path in front of us together as a "missional community" and that as we are faithful He will increase our fruitfulness in the Kingdom. Looking back at the history of God's people we observe that the highlights were when the body of Messiah was living as missional communities. This is evidenced in the book of Acts, during the exponential growth of the early church, in the lives of the Celtic Christians as they carried the true light of the gospel in the dark ages and in the Moravians of Herrnhut with their one hundred year unending prayer meeting that launched the birth of modern Protestant missions.
We hope that you are encouraged in your journey to live out the biblical pattern of missional community in the place that God has established you. Although, it isn't easy and rarely comfortable, the rewards of fellowship with God and His family are for now, for eternity and all for His glory. Together, through sharing life in true missional community let's create a landing pad for His glory all over the earth!
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: In The Cross Of Messiah I Glory|
|Eitan Shishkoff: Esther's Call|
|Eitan Shishkoff: Messianic Children And Youth Take Refuge|
|Marty Shoub: While Katyushas Fall|
|Asher Intrater: Tisha B'Av 2006 On The Lebanese Border|